The Results of Reconciliation

Romans 5:9-11

October 15, 2006 | Brian Bill

A teenager received his driver’s permit and asked his dad about using the family car.  His father sat him down and said, “I’ll make a deal with you.  You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible more, get your hair cut, and we’ll talk about the car.”  After a couple weeks went by, the dad said, “Son, I’m real proud of you.  You brought your grades up, you’ve been studying your Bible more and you’re going to youth group.  But, I’m disappointed that you haven’t gotten your hair cut.” 

The son paused for a moment, and then said, “You know, Dad, I’ve noticed in my study of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair, and I wouldn’t doubt that Jesus’ hair was long.”   To which his father replied, “You’re right son.  Did you also notice that they all walked everywhere they went?”

As we’ve been roaming through the Book of Romans, we’ve been learning that God loves losers like us even when we don’t do what we’re supposed to do.  We were reminded again last week that not only do we have a hard time living up to external expectations, we have even bigger problems: we’re weak, wicked, and wayward.  This morning we’re going to see that there are some amazing results of our reconciliation.  

Let’s read Romans 5:9-11 together: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” 

Paul is using a form of argument called a fortiori, or “how much more.”  It basically works like this: If the greater thing is true, then the lesser thing is of necessity also true.  If God has done the harder thing, then surely He will do the easier task.  Look closely at verse 9“Since we have now…how much more shall we be…” And verse 10: “For if when we were…how much more…”  Even verse 11 employs something similar:  “Not only…we also.”  

If God has already done the difficult, can we not trust Him to do the comparatively simple thing of completing the task?

Since God did the more difficult task of justifying weak, wayward and wicked sinners, then to rescue us from wrath is relatively effortless.  We could say it this way: If God has already done the difficult, can we not trust Him to do the comparatively simple thing of completing the task?

Paul is making some stunning statements in this section of Scripture to show that we are to live with the tension of what we have “already” and what is “still to come.”  The best is really yet to be!    In each of these three verses we’ll discover a conviction that comes with a corollary truth.  

Look at verse 9: “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

Conviction #1: We have been justified by His blood.    

At conversion our sins are forgiven, and all charges against us are dropped.  This is a legal term from the world of law. To justify means to “declare not guilty.”  Wayne Grudem defines it this way: “An instantaneous legal act of God in which He thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us.”  We are found not guilty but we are also declared righteous.  According to 2 Corinthians 5:21, the righteousness of Christ is credited to your account.   Romans 8:1 says, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Don’t miss the fact that we are saved by “His blood.”  As the song says, “there is power in the blood” not in pop psychology or in other blather baptized in the waters of Christian words.  Why is the blood of Jesus so important?

  • There is no forgiveness without blood.  Hebrews 9:22: “…Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
  • The blood satisfies the Holy claims of God.  Exodus 12:13: “…when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
  • The blood redeems the believer.  1 Peter 1:18-19: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
  • The blood cleanses us from sin.  1 John 1:7: “…the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 

The blood of Jesus justifies us.  That’s conviction #1.  Here’s the corollary to that.

Corollary #1: We shall be saved from God’s wrath. 

God’s righteous wrath was unleashed on Jesus, who died as our substitute, in our place.  The word “wrath” has already appeared six times in our study of Romans and means “an inner, deep resentment that seethes and smolders.”  

Last week we focused on God’s love.  The other truth to keep in mind is God’s justice.  Because He is just, He must punish sin and because He loves us so much He sent His own Son as substitute so that He remains loving and just.  His wrath is fully satisfied because He has fully unleashed His love.  Here’s a truth that blows us away: The love of God rescues us from the wrath of God.  Romans 3:26: “He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

The word for saved means, “to deliver or preserve a person from extraordinary danger or destruction.”  This means that we are not only saved at conversion, we are saved forever.  That’s why we believe that once saved, always saved.  You are saved from your own wickedness and from God’s wrath.  I love these words of life in 1 Thessalonians 1:10: “Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”  1 Thessalonians 5:9 puts it this way: “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”   Loved ones, Jesus intercepted and absorbed the wrath of God for you on the cross, where all of God’s fury was poured out.  

Forgive me for the theology of this joke but it makes a good point.  A man died and was transported to the pearly gates.  He was met by an angel who said, “All you have to do is perform one task correctly and you’ll be granted entrance into heaven.  It’s really pretty easy.  All you have to do is spell ‘love.’”  

The man sighed in relief and quickly answered: “L-O-V-E.”   The angel then asked the man if he could watch the gate for a few minutes because he had a couple errands to run.  The man immediately agreed.  As he awaited the angel’s return, he saw another man walk up the pearly gates.  He recognized him as someone he couldn’t stand when he was alive.  In fact, he had incredible conflict with him for many years.  Seeing who was manning the gates, the man became noticeably anxious.  The gatekeeper said, “Don’t worry, all you have to do is perform one task correctly and you’ll get in.”  The man breathed a sigh of relief and said, “What do I have to do?”  To which his enemy said, “Spell ‘chrysanthemum.’” 

Aren’t you glad that there’s no human gatekeeper to God’s kingdom?  Flawed people cannot judge whether someone makes it or not.  The task that needs to be performed has already been completed by Christ.  It’s through His blood that we have entrance.  We are justified by Jesus through faith, and we’re saved from wrath because we’ve been declared righteous.

Verse 10 gives us the next pair of truths: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”

Conviction #2: We are reconciled by His death. 

It’s not an easy truth to stomach but before we come to Christ, the Bible says that we are at war with God.   The word “enemy” was often used to describe bitter military foes and meant “hated, odious and hostile.”  In our context, it would be like the U.S. and North Korea.  Amazingly, Jesus now refers to us not as foes, but as friends in John 15:15: “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I made known to you.”  If God did all that He did for us when we were enemies, what will He do for us now that we are friends?

Corollary #2: We are saved by His life. 

Since a dead Savior can redeem us, don’t you think a living Savior can keep us?  Christ not only gave His life for us, He gave His life to us.  He lives in order to live in us so that He can liberate us.  We should look at His earthly life as an example as taught in 1 Peter 2:21: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”  It’s good to wear the bracelet and ask the question: What Would Jesus Do?  But I think it’s even better to allow Jesus to live His life within you.

What does it mean that we are saved through His life?  I don’t believe this is referring to how Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, but how He is living His life through you and me right now.  This is not some spiritual milk that you can just slurp down quickly.  

This is one of those “meaty” truths of the Word that we need to chew on to understand.  Paul stated that the key to the Christian life is very clear in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…”  

If there’s a secret to the Christian life, here it is.  It’s not a matter of trying to imitate Jesus, though we should strive to do that.  It’s not a matter of keeping rules or even getting our hair cut.  The secret to the Christian life is simply allowing Jesus to control every part of our life so that He lives out His character through us.  Someone put it this way: When I was saved, I was “in Christ,” but when I appropriate His life, then it is “Christ in me.”  Listen to the words of Jesus in John 14:20: “…You are in me, and I am in you.” 

David Dykes illustrates this truth with a glove.  This glove is nice but it’s empty.  It represents a person who is not full of Jesus.  I can say to this glove, “Come on, pick up this watch.”  I can urge it to do so, I can give it an example to follow, but until it is filled with something it won’t be able to do anything.  Here’s the application.  If you’re struggling to love an unlovely person, you’ll never be able to do it on your own.  If you’re having a hard time forgiving a friend, you’ll fail in your own power.  Actually, everything in the Christian life is impossible without the filling of Christ.  But, when Jesus fills our lives (put hand in glove), Jesus in us can love the unlovely and forgive the unforgivable.  

Not only is Jesus living His resurrection life in and through us, when we let Him; He is also praying for us.  Turn to Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”   Jesus saves completely and He intercedes constantly.

Jesus died to reconcile us and He lives in us to save us.  If God has done the most, will He not do the least?  If God has done the best, will He not do the rest?  If we were forgiven while we were foes, will he not save us now that we are friends?  This passage helps us see that there are three dimensions to our deliverance: past, present and future.

1. Justification

This deals with our past liberation from the penalty of sin through the shedding of the Savior’s blood.  

2. Sanctification

The second stage covers our present liberation from the power of sin.  By God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s enablement, the cords of our bondage to sin are broken as the Lord Jesus lives His life through us.  What this means is that Christians are being transformed, set aside for the Savior, and set apart from sin.  Our challenge is to live out in practice what is ours in position.  Actually, this is just whetting our appetites for what we’ll learn in Romans 6-8.

3. Glorification

This third dimension will take place in the future when believers come face-to-face with Jesus, and are liberated from the presence of sin.  In this world, sin is everywhere.  The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the boastful pride of life is pervasive, including what lurks and lives inside each of us.  In the twinkling of an eye, our mortal bodies will be exchanged for immortal ones, and we will never have to deal with sin again.  Romans 8:30: “And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

The penalty of sin is paid for; the power of sin can be broken in our lives, and there’s a time coming when we will be free from the presence of sin.  Incidentally, these three stages correlate to three of our four vision points for this year.  

  • Gaining more disciples.  We want to see more people become justified by faith in Christ so that they are freed from the penalty of sin.  I’m praying that more of us will be more committed to sharing Christ with those around us.
  • Growing in depth.  We ache to see more believers dive deep with Christ so that as a group of Christ-followers we will experience the victory that is ours!  It’s time to find freedom and grow in character development so that the fruit of the Spirit blossoms in this body.
  • Glimpsing the dream.  As we contemplate the future, we will be motivated to live for Him in the present.  1 John 3:3: “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” 

First, we are justified by His blood and saved from His wrath.  Second, we are reconciled by His death and saved by His life.  Thirdly, verse 11 teaches that we have received reconciliation and therefore we rejoice in God: “Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Conviction #3: We have received reconciliation. 

Would you notice that reconciliation must be received in order for it to be activated in one’s life?  God initiates reconciliation with His enemies and we are recipients only when we receive what He offers.  John 1:12: “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” 

I wonder, are you in the right vehicle right now?  There’s only One who can get you to the right place.  Jesus said it this way in John 5:24: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”  Perhaps you’ve been trusting in other methods but I’m here to tell you that if you’re in the wrong vehicle you’ll go to the wrong place.

Corollary #3: We rejoice in God. 

This is the third time in Romans so far that Paul has referred to rejoicing in God.  The Greek word joy means “to exult and rejoice jubilantly, or to be thrilled.”  Notice that we are to be thrilled with God Himself.  This could be translated this way: “glorying in God.”  Psalm 35:9: “Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation.”  

Are you thrilled with God today or are you bored with Him?

Sir Thomas Moore used to complain about the English Reformers because he said they were “too frivolous, too giddy, and too joyful in their salvation.”  I wonder how many people would make that complaint about me.  Has it been awhile since you exulted in an expression of your salvation?  Are you thrilled with God today or are you bored with Him?  I don’t believe Christians can lose their salvation but they can certainly lose the joy of their salvation.  Watch this video clip and like David in Psalm 51:12, ask God to “restore the joy of your salvation.”

Through faith in Jesus,

  • We have been justified by His blood and we shall be saved from God’s wrath.
  • We are reconciled by His death and we are saved by His life.
  • We have received reconciliation and we rejoice in God.

When God forgives sin, 

He purges the RECORD


And empowers the RECEPIENT

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?